Norfolk Island 1949


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I am born.

Screen shot from 'Roget's Circular'
Interactive CDROM (2001)
Image by Melissa Smith


I am born to an Australian mother and English father. She identifies as having Australian Aboriginal, Irish and Scottish ancestry. He identifies as an atheist and 'card holding' member of the Australian Communist Party. My mother's mother denies her Aboriginality. My father's father is a spy for General McCarthur. My parents meet in Melbourne and elope to Norfolk Island where I am born before they marry. They bring my sister Nadya who is the daughter of Australian actor Peter Carver.


A.S.I.O., Australia's counter-espionage agency designed to handle international security matters, was established.

Work commenced on the Snowy Mountains Scheme to divert the water from the Snowy and Eucumbene rivers inland for irrigation.

Nationality and Citizenship Act passed, by which Australians became Australian (rather than British) citizens although British passports were retained.

The Australian Almanac, Pub. Angus & Robertson 1985


1949: Voting rights granted to Aboriginal servicemen. The Australian Aborigines League (AAL), formed in 1932 by William Cooper, fought to end all discriminatory practices against Aboriginal people in "civic, political and economic" spheres and demanded full citizens "rights". The Australian Government agreed and in 1949 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was amended to give the Federal vote to Aboriginal people who were serving, or who had served, in the defence forces.

1962: Voting rights for all Aboriginal people. In 1962 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was again amended to give all Aboriginal people the right to vote in Commonwealth elections, although voting was not compulsory.

1983: Voting becomes compulsory. A further amendment to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was passed in 1983 which made voting compulsory for all enrolled Aboriginal people.

Today Aboriginal people have the same citizenship rights as other Australians. However, they are typically underrepresented when elections arise. Fewer Aboriginal people cast their vote on election day than are eligible and there are currently no Aboriginals in the Australian Parliament. In contrast, a number of Aboriginal people do currently represent electorates at State and Territorial level, and South Australia has had an Aboriginal Governor, Sir Douglas Nicholls.

Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) URL:A history of Aboriginal voting rights. https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/Education/education-programs-aboriginal-history.html Accessed 28 Deceember 2012